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Introduction to Four Day Work Week: Suncorp Australia

Long working hours are associated with a lack of attentiveness, tiredness and fatigue. Employees strive for a work environment that enables them to maintain equilibrium between personal and professional life. Employment of the same in a firm is associated with both positive and negative outcomes. This report is an extensive analysis of the feasibility in employing the four day work week in Suncorp Group Ltd. Australia. It investigates the key implication of employing the six hours working week within the financial firm. This assessment envisages determining the viability of employment of four days working schedule comprising of six hours of operation. The assessment is branched into three key sections. The initial section proposes the implementation of the new working curriculum in the organization. The following section discusses both affirmative and adversative implications of the same on job design and human resources planning. The concluding section highlights the key underpinnings of the report.

Implementation of The New Working Curriculum

Organizational Context

Suncorp Group is one of the leading financial solutions providers in Australia. It exercises business in varied sectors involving banking, finance and insurance. It came into existence in the year 1996. It comprises of numerous superannuation, life insurance and investment brands. It trails a low-cost structure and tries to deliver the services to the customers at economical charges. It has improved solvency which is possible due to the large asset base. Also, it exhibits robust relationships with the dealer which is a key factor that leads to the better administration of the capital expenditures. It has a team of qualified and accredited professionals associated with it which is assisting the firm to trail a continual growth in the banking and insurance industry (Azinga, Kamaara, Nzulwa & Ombui, 2018).

The total number of employees in the firm is around 1500, and it interfaces with more than nine million customers on a global level. It also has a child insurance company namely GIO which is also a general insurance company operating in Queensland. It trades a wide array of brands that involve InsureMyRide, AAMI, Shannons, Vero, Asteron and Terri Scheer. The firm also acquired joint ventures with the motoring clubs RAA and RACQ, however, divested in the year 2010 (Shah, Xu, Gollan & Wilkinson, 2016).

Four Day Working Week in Suncorp

The working hours in Suncorp are quite long and this is the reason that the employee turnover has substantially inflated in the last few years (Riach & Jack, 2016). Finland's Prime Minister has come up with the idea to reduce the working days as well as the working hours so that the employees get a chance to have a stable personal life and good health. This also reflects that the employees having a stabilized personal life will definitely work in a virtuous custom at the workplace. Ms Marin stated that having a three days weekend will allow the employees to enjoy with their family and friends (News.com.au, 2020). This four day working week can be employed in Suncorp keeping in mind the personal lives balance for the employees and also the inflating employee turnover.

It is viable to employ this idea in Suncorp because of the fact that the firm is already struggling with the loss of capital in employee training and recruitment due to a large number of employees leaving the firm. For ensuring the feasibility of the plan, it is vital that the plan is applied in the trial in the organization for a period of two weeks. It will provide the firm with an idea of the plan's effectiveness in encouraging the employees and at the same time maintaining the efficacious delivery of the services to the customers.

As per the research conducted by the authors Lee, Suh, Kim & Park (2017), overtime at the work can result in the employees indulging in the activities like consumption of alcohol and tobacco. In the research, 38 per cent of the employees stated that they had too much work to do and 42 per cent said that they had little or no time to relax. Also, 6 per cent of the employees stated that they had poor balance amid work-life equilibrium. Opinions of the authors Ganster, Rosen & Fisher (2018) also align with this as they also state that the employees incur health issues that involved poor body posture, mental stress and sometimes anxiety due to overtime. Scholars Kim, Park, Lee & Kim (2016) state that poor health conditions are more prevalent among employees who worked for more than 60 hours a week.

As compared to the standard working hours, if employees work more than that, it results in building up of pressure. It eventually creates a misbalance in the personal lives which is gradually reflected on the work and productivity. Authors Virtanen et al. (2018) have also elaborated on how the working satisfaction and motivation is simultaneously declined along with the long working hours and by working all days round the week. Employees require necessary breaks to make sure that they feel refreshed and healthier to continue their jobs (Ryu, 2016). In Suncorp, for employing the four days working for six hours must be employed after considering these literary pieces. Since the workforce is the backbone of a firm they must be satisfied by Suncorp to further enhance the operations. The organization can incorporate this plan by using extra week-off days and promoting using taglines like ‘no work Wednesday’ or 'take a break Thursday’.

Positive and Negative Implications on Job Design and HR Planning

Human resource planning is critical for the success of a business as they are accountable for many business operations that involve employee recruitment and management. If the four day working schedule is employed in Suncorp, it will have both positive and negative impact on the job design and HR planning. The plus point is that the HR team will be able to ensure that the new team is managed in a more effectual fashion as it will be easier to inflate the motivation levels. Team building will become easier and the employees will work with an enthusiastic attitude (Lonez & Ganal, 2018). Also, in this manner, the job design will also be impacted as the employees will perform their tasks with more productivity and engagement which will ultimately result in satisfied customers and added productivity. Since HR department in Suncorp has been witnessing the issue of high employee turnover and inability in modifying the training curriculums, it will be helpful in making sure that employees are retained within the firm (Shah, Xu, Gollan & Wilkinson, 2016).

Also, the employees will feel strong ties with the organization and will communicate the same to family and friends. Another positive implication is the fact that the recruitment procedure will become easier and the top talent can be easily lured (Lonez & Ganal, 2018). This plan if implemented will accentuate the job design in terms that the employees will effectively integrate responsibilities depicting employee loyalty.

The negative implication encapsulates the fact that it may result in the loss of the opportunity costs and may ultimately hinder sales. If this plan is implemented, the HR team may face difficulty in adjusting as per the business environment. Due to the shorter work durations, the employees may face difficulty in the meeting the requirements and completing the targets. The HR will have to cope up with this situation and introduce new training curriculums to manage the same. Introducing this plan may uphold risk and costs (Lonez & Ganal, 2018). Suncorp’s HR team may face intricacy in managing the teamwork and keeping a check of the completion of the targets. Since Suncorp is finance and banking corporation, employees prefer the firms that are available longer duration, working for only four days can influence the job design and may cause the deflated customer satisfaction (Linde & Visagie, 2017).

Conclusion on Four Day Work Week: Suncorp Australia

This report maintains a key refrain of implementing a four day work schedule in Suncorp Group. The report has extensively discussed all the key facets of the aspect stressing on the positive as well as negative implications. The report clearly brings forward a picture of the reduced employee motivation and inflating employee turnover within the firm. If the proposed program is implemented within the firm, it will accompany positive aspects such as motivated and encouraged workforce, more dedicated team, less employee turnover and ease in attracting the top talent. The negative aspects associated with the proposed program are less supervision, the requirement of a new training program, inability to meet the targets and inability in fulfilling the needs of the customers. It can be hence, inferred from the study since every program is associated with cons, there is a need for Suncorp to amend the plan and can adopt the four day work week by keeping the working hours unchanged. This is so because the four day work week program is not suitable for all businesses.

References for Four Day Work Week: Suncorp Australia

Azinga, E. N., Kamaara, M., Nzulwa, J., & Ombui, K. (2018). Influence of Leadership Styles on Employee Turnover in the Insurance Industry in Kenya. International Journal of Human Resources and Procurement8(2), 1-22.

Ganster, D. C., Rosen, C. C., & Fisher, G. G. (2018). Long working hours and well-being: what we know, what we do not know, and what we need to know. Journal of Business and Psychology33(1), 25-39.

Kim, W., Park, E. C., Lee, T. H., & Kim, T. H. (2016). Effect of working hours and precarious employment on depressive symptoms in South Korean employees: a longitudinal study. Occup Environ Med73(12), 816-822.

Lee, K., Suh, C., Kim, J. E., & Park, J. O. (2017). The impact of long working hours on psychosocial stress response among white-collar workers. Industrial Health55(1), 46-53.

Linde, H. M., & Visagie, J. C. (2017). Determining the Relationship between Employee Participation and Union Membership. Journal of Social Sciences51(1-3), 211-220.

Lonez, L. L., & Ganal, N. N. (2018). An Evaluation of Four-Day Compressed Workweek of Ifugao State University System: Basis for Action Plan. Educare11(1).

News.com.au. (2020). Four-day working week and six-hour shifts set to be introduced in Finland. Retrieved from: https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/fourday-working-week-and-sixhour-shifts-set-to-be-introduced-in-finland/news-story/895c7c088d951691104ab05988f9dede

Riach, K., & Jack, G. (2016). The affective economy of the business case for mature aged workers. Social Policy and Society15(4), 611-623.

Ryu, G. (2016). Public employees’ well-being when having long working hours and low-salary working conditions. Public Personnel Management45(1), 70-89.

Shah, D., Xu, Y., Gollan, P. J., & Wilkinson, A. (2016). In search of workplace partnership at Suncorp. In Developing Positive Employment Relations (pp. 281-303). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Virtanen, M., Jokela, M., Madsen, I. E., Hanson, L. L. M., Lallukka, T., Nyberg, S. T., ... & Burr, H. (2018). Long working hours and depressive symptoms: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data. Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment & Health44(3), 239-250.

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